In 2012 on February 28th, I woke up and thought I was having a stroke. I was only 36 at the time and terrified. I was in a doctor’s office, specialist office, hospital or lab every business day for almost 3 weeks.
The neurologist finally tells me after consulting with a headache specialist I have one of two conditions. One was a viral (maybe bacterial) conditional that could be treated with a course of medication. The recommendation was to treat me and see if it worked. (Like an episode of House without cool dialogue) problem was I was HIGHLY allergic to the medication.
Next option please…
The alternative was Hemiphlegic Migraines. My neurologist had never had a patient with this condition. I went through an elimination diet to determine triggers. I was placed on a preventative medication, but the break through episodes were still brutal. With this condition I am more susceptible to having a future TIA or stroke. Every time I had a slightly different pain in my head or a new symtom I was at an ER…most of which were not familiar with my condition.
At the end of 2013 I left my job as a probation parole officer, a job I loved in North Carolina. We moved to West Virginia. The combination of reduced stress and the environment have drastically reduced the occurrence of these episodes…or so I thought.
It would seem seering pain associated with traditional migraines is not necessarily always present with hemiphlegic migraines. I’ve developed other symptoms with nausea, dizziness and aura without any real pain; however, those symptoms have that slight droop of my right eye indicating I am still having the episodes.
I would be lying if I said this didn’t freak me out. I can’t pretend I worry all the time about it, because I do not. What I can say is I have a pet peeve. I know people are well meaning when they hear you suffer from migraines. I have had “normal” migraines since I was 15. I have been peddled all kinds of remedies from eating right, drinking water and vitamin cocktails. Hemiphlegic migraines are not just headaches. Migraines are not just headaches. Sometimes you cannot just push through them…trust me we wish we could. Those who deal with migraines of any kind deal was an invisible illness that is quite often not taken seriously.
While a probation officer I petitioned for a reasonable accommodation under EEO and was denied because it is not a recognized disability to have hemiplegic migraines. What does that say about the system?
It’s water under the bridge for me now, but someone is dealing with a similar issue. Do not diminish those who suffer with migraines. The symptoms and types are varied. If it frustrates you that they have another headache, imagine what it is for them.
Read more about Hemiphlegic Migraines here https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/types-of-migraine/hemiplegic-migraine/